Peter Simpson says that beer is a very personal thing, and when any layman analyzes consumer trends even here in Kenya – Peter surely does have a point.
“As a master brewer, it’s a matter of doing the right job plus experimental stuff, you first must understand what the drinker wants, who wants to drink and when they want to drink, then you can design a product for that particular consumer – it’s a matter of creativity,” says Peter Simpson, a master brewer based in Dublin, Ireland, the home of Guinness.
Normally, with the four key ingredients; water, barley, hops and yeast, brewers can make a huge world of beers, but that’s just a dim view. In essence, to craft the finest beer, it takes creativity and manipulating of those four key ingredients to produce the ideal stuff.
“From our consumer research, we start with what we want the beer to taste like, it’s usually an ideal projection, sometimes I may end up crafting a beer that isn’t quite to my expectations – but it still is a good beer,” he says
“We have an experimental bar in Dublin where people can come in and try experimental beers. And if it’s still not good we shelf it” Peter adds.
“Such are the instances that keep me awake at night,” He says.
Beers are quite popular in Kenya…but the thing is, economics and increasingly changing tastes could mean that the consumers want more variants and alternatives on top of what is currently available.
National brewers like Tusker and Keroche have come out with new variants to entice their consumers with the hope that they will continue flirting with the markets.
Guinness is also another prime example of a brewer that is aligning itself with these new developments.
For instance, after the Launch of Guinness hop House 13 a month ago, the brewer is set to unveil yet another variant dubbed Guinness Smooth on the 25th of October.
“It’s very recognizably Guinness but it’s very much a stand out beer on its own, it’s quite distinctive –it’s a bitter-Chocolate sweet that gives you that smooth character, Sweet coming from the malt and bitter-chocolate coming from the roasted barley, it’s a perfect balance between the two” says Peter Simpson.
Peter argues that by giving consumers a wide range of choice they will eventually find something that hits the right spots.
“For Guinness Smooth, the balance of roast is very important and a Barbecue meal can complement this roast character,” Peter Simpson told this writer.
Peter assures that these new Guinness variant will indeed excite consumers taste buds, and after Ghana and Nigeria, Kenya becomes the third market where the new Guinness Smooth will be launched.